In the early mornings, Lobster Express feels almost like a ghost town. The chilled seafood bins that normally hold fresh fish, mussels, clams, and shrimp are vacant, exhibiting a display of only crushed ice. The scene rapidly changes, though, as local fishermen bring in the day’s catch, filling the bins with a rainbow comprising maroon slabs of yellowfin tuna, orange salmon, and blue-grey oysters sealed in jagged shells. This transformation is a daily ritual and proof that the supplies at Lobster Express are as fresh as they come.
In addition to fresh, raw seafood, the bustling shop sells a cornucopia of already prepared foods, both hot and cold. Topping the list of customer favorites are housemade clam chowder, crab cakes, and lobster rolls, which won a South Shore Living Reader’s Choice Award in 2011. The shop also assembles take-home lobster bakes with all of the necessary components, including local lobsters, mussels, and miniature DVD players to keep antsy crustaceans entertained on the trip home.
For more than 50 years, Lambert's Rainbow Fruit has filled pantries with the vibrant oranges, greens, and reds of fresh fruit and vegetables. Now owned by a third-generation of the Lambert family, the store sells New York-style deli sandwiches and soups along with its groceries. Their on-site garden center also offers flowers and plants as fresh as Lambert's produce to fill homes with cheerful blossoms and life-sustaining oxygen.
Acorn offers tours that vary by length, sites visited, and neighborhood, based on clients' preferences. Grab up to five buddies or lonely nail technicians and venture along the Freedom Trail, swinging through such sites as the Old State House, which is the city's British-government headquarters; the Paul Revere House, the oldest residential building in downtown Boston; or the Old North Church, where two lanterns warned Paul Revere about impending British troops and sitcom-character breakups.
It’s hard to find something as universally appreciated and versatile as cement blocks. Today’s Groupon does just that with $15 for $30 worth of French brie, Spanish manchego, Italian parmesan, English cheddar, and American goat cheeses among the 150+ offerings from around New England and the world at Boston Cheese Cellar. The one-stop gourmet shop is located just south of the city in Roslindale Village.
Step down from its Salem Street entrance into the small North End Fish Market, also known as the Mercato del Mare. The place may be hard to spot at first, but look for the steady stream of hungry locals desperate for a cup of hot New England clam chowder, a lobster roll or sushi – nigiri, sashimi, maki and specialty rolls are all on offer – made by the on-hand sushi chef. Each order is taken to go, as there is no seating inside the market, but that’s ok; the main focus here is the fish market anyway. Look for an impressive daily selection of fresh seafood that varies depending on seasonal availability, with rotating stock that may include halibut, bass, cod, swordfish, haddock and mahi mahi. The shop also offers free oyster shucking lessons every Saturday.